“Survival” Carne Seca Adovada Recipe

Survival Soups

Soups have long been the mainstay of any cook who is trying to stretch the larder to feed more people, or the budget to save money. Soup is the basic survival food. This is part of a series of Survival Soup recipes that you can make from commonly stored foods, your garden in season, foraging wild edibles, or what is seasonally plentiful on the homestead.

Survival” Carne Seca Adovada Recipe


by Wyzyrd – Editor-at-Large

This was completely an experiment in using only storable items, I’m surprised that it worked out as well as it did.

A few up-front notes:

  1. This is DEFINITELY going to be a lot better if you use homemade, air-dried beef jerky vs. the commercially-made stuff. If you have to use ‘store’ jerky, I’d go for the ‘steak nugget’ style before the flat strips.
  2. Dried Ancho and Pasilla chile peppers are available at every supermarket in areas that have any sort of Latin-American populations, or online. They are very flavorful, but not at all ‘hot’. (Chiles de Arbol can hurt you – not all dried peppers are mild) They are also pretty cheap flavor-enhancers. If you prep them by breaking off the stem-ends, pouring out the seeds and vacuum-sealing, the 25th Century archeologists who discover your stash will probably say “MMMMM.. tasty…”
  3. This is NOT a quick MRE-type meal. Just like our ancestors, if you’re going to use dried, preserved ingredients, it will take a while, and you may have to plan in advance.


“big handful” (or 2)  of  homemade beef jerky (“Carne Seca” in Spanish – a popular Mexican ingredient)

“handful” of dried Ancho and/or Pasilla chiles

heaping tbsp. of dried Oregano leaves

about a tbsp. of ground cumin seed

1-2 tbsp. dehydrated onion flakes

1 tbsp. granulated garlic


chicken stock or bouillion (optional)

salt and pepper to taste.


  1. In one container, cover the jerky with boiling water, and let sit 3-4 hours to rehydrate.
  2. In another container, add chiles, oregano, onion and garlic, cover with boiling water and let sit to rehydrate. Refrigerating #’s 1 and 2 overnight (covered) is not  a bad idea, if possible.
  3. Grind up the chile/herb/onion/garlic/water into a thick sauce. “Abuelita” (grandma) probably used a lava-rock mortar and pestle for this. A hand immersion blender, or a food processor or a blender will work faster under ideal circumstances.
  4. Drain the meat (save liquid) and add rehydrated meat to the chile/herb sauce. Add the meat-rehydrating liquid, if needed, until everything is submerged.
  5. Let the meat marinate, refrigerated, as long as possible. 2 or 3 days is not a bad idea.
  6. When ready, dump the whole batch into a pot, add water (or chicken stock) until everything is covered. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, simmer covered 2-3 hours, checking liquid level – add more if needed (especially if on an open fire)
  7. Let it simmer, uncovered, another 10-15 minutes, to thicken sauce. 

This was surprisingly good over rice and black beans with homemade corn tortillas. The meat isn’t ‘fall apart tender’ like a normal pork shoulder Carne Adovada, but much more than just “acceptable” or “MRE” quality.

For a funny demo/HOWTO on making good beef jerky (under modern circumstances) I recommend:



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